It was with more than a little annoyance, that we read once again about the continuing fall in crime last week. Such was the shortage of real news, the media jumped on the bandwagon with Yahoo, the BBC, the Independent, ACPO, The Guardian once, and twice, The Home Office, The Telegraph, and Theresa May all throwing their hats into the ring to have their say.
The frontline officers who read these pages and others on police sites, have long since tried to raise public awareness about the scurrilous strategies engaged by Chief and Senior Officers in the pursuit of declining crime and increased detection targets.
Home Secretary, Theresa May has clearly recognised the suspicion and doubt that surround crime statistics, by announcing a review led by the national statistician to decide which independent body should have future responsibility for the publication of crime statistics and to oversee the implementation of recommendations last year from the UK Statistics Authority.
To quote her speech in the House of Commons :
"I am concerned that our existing measures of crime are confusing and offer the public only a partial picture of the true level of offending. It is in the public interest that we have measures of crime that are clear, meaningful and in which the public can have confidence. While the UK Statistics Authority saw no evidence of political interference in crime statistics published by the Home Office, I believe bolder action is needed to more clearly demonstrate their political independence. For that reason, I have decided to move future formal responsibility for the publication of crime statistics to an independent body".
The review – led by Jil Matheson – the National Statistician will look for cost effective ways to improve the coverage and coherence of crime statistics.
Crime statistics are made up of crimes recorded by the police and the British Crime Survey is based on interviews with the public about their experiences.
Theresa May said: 'Any reductions in crime are welcome, however levels are still too high and we know these statistics only offer a partial picture about the level of crime. More needs to be done to bring crime down and we need to take bold action to restore public trust in crime statistics. That is why I have asked the National Statistician to lead a review and why we are moving the publication of crime statistics out of the Home Office to an independent body. Improving public trust and confidence in crime statistics is crucial if we are to improve transparency and empower local communities to hold authorities to account.'
The review aims to give the public a clearer picture of crime levels, including:
• ensuring definitions of crimes and anti-social behaviour are aligned with the priorities and concerns of local communities
• improving transparency and trust in the crime data which is collated and published
• recommending how gaps in the statistics could be addressed
• advising which independent body should publish crime statistics in future
The review will report back by the end of April 2011 with any changes implemented from April 2012.
We have written extensively about how top UK police officers "Cook the books of Crime" for financial gain, bonus payments, political and career advancement. This "Conspiracy to Deceive" has gone on for too many years, and the news that Theresa May has appointed the National Statistician to clean up the mess is most welcome. Our concern is that the books are opened fully for Jil Matheson so she may see for herself the extent that the figures have been manipulated down the years.
It is a popular view that when the lid is finally prized off the crime statistics and detections can of worms, and the Top Cop pay scandal associated with it, here, here and finally here, the mess that will spill out into the public arena will eclipse that of the MP Expenses cases, brought courageously to the surface by Heather Brooke.
SO WHAT OF THE LATEST CRIME STATISTICS?
Many in the know, may say just that . . . so what!
Suffice to say, we have done some of our own homework on the statistics, (which incidentally only cover the 12 month period up to September 2010). Over the coming days, in sequels to this post, we will shed even more light on the numbers with our data taking us up to November 2010, which is at least a little more current.
The most recent figures released were submitted by Chief Officers and their forces still drunk under the political influence of the last Govenment. Theresa May abolished the old performance targets in June last year. Yet, despite having killed off Professor Frankenstein, his monster, in the form of performance targets and manipulated statistics, lives on in the senior management of the police forces of England and Wales. We need look no further than 32 of the 43 forces and their websites to see that te scrapped and expensive policing pledge is alive and well in those forces. Why? It is clear that the Chief Officers like the comfort of being able to say "We met our targets" even if the numbers were fiddled to get there.
To Theresa May and Jil Matheson, we wish you well in your fight to untangle the crime and detection statistics web of deceit. It may well be, that to restore confidence, we may have to accept drawing a line under the fabricated, financially driven statistics of Nu Labour with the introduction of a fresh start, or a "Ground Zero" approach. If that turns out to be the case, so be it. At least then there will be hope of some transparency and honesty about crime and detections, so that resources may be properly allocated.
As it stands at the moment, if we were to ask ourselves the questions: "Who is reponsible for the current malaise? Why were the police not ring fenced in the spending review of last year?" Many might answer that the Chief Officers, with year upon year of fudged figures, gave the impression that they were reducing and detecting crime admirably with existing resources thank you very much. Is it any wonder they have now become the authors of their own and the rank and files current misfortunes?
So, to all Chief and Senior Officers who have even by their silence, helped to perpetuate the problems and challenges you now face, we would say this. For once, be honest. Before you point the finger of blame at everyone but yourselves, including the federated rank and file, who you have instructed to carry out your despicable and scurrilous "strategies" -remember this . . .
When you point the forefinger of blame, three more are pointing right back at you.
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